The Governing Body ensures that the emphasis throughout the school meets the requirements of the National Curriculum and that children work with purpose, understanding and enjoyment.
The School has adopted schemes of work / cross-curricular themes for the delivery of the key skills with the National Curriculum, thus ensuring progression throughout. In line with national guidelines, we aim to provide a good grounding in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science and have adopted the National Literacy and Numeracy strategies advocated by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).
The children's achievements are valued at all times and there are high expectations of them both academically and socially. Consideration is also given to their varying starting points and children are encouraged to work to the best of their ability in a supportive environment.
The policy on Personal and Social, Health and Citizenship Education provides a framework for spiritual and community development. Religious Education and the collective act of worship provides further opportunities for us to develop this aspect of the children’s education.
All children have access to the full curriculum. We believe that all children should have comparable access to a curriculum which is free from bias or discrimination. Further, the school has a detailed Race Equality Policy and develops opportunities to explore multicultural issues.
All schools are now required to have home-school agreements which lay down the responsibilities of the school, its parents and pupils. We realise the importance of parental support in the enrichment of the children's education and encourage their involvement in the life of the school. The Infant and Junior schools work together to provide their children with a smooth transition between key stages and strive to provide a firm foundation for their future development.
Autumn and Spring born children start school full time in September after a short induction into school. Children with summer birthdays start school part-time in the autumn term (after a short induction) and full-time in the spring term. Activities are planned using the foundation stage curriculum – a national curriculum especially for early years / reception children. It is extremely flexible catering for all needs and abilities. The children’s confidence and independence are encouraged and developed by the staff.
Children are given the opportunity to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a variety of settings. Concepts and skills are taught through planned play and practical activities using a variety of tools, materials and media.
Moving from the Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1
We try to ensure a very smooth transition for the children through a variety of strategies e.g. in the summer term the younger children are invited to join the older children for some assemblies and playtimes. The children have opportunities to visit their new classrooms and teachers and these teachers will also visit them. Staff liaise closely to ensure the organisation of activities / classroom routines in the autumn term of year 1 are similar to those in the summer term of the foundation stage.
The use of play-based learning e.g. sand, water, role-play areas have also been re-introduced into the year 1 curriculum.
Pupils with particular learning / social needs may also have individual induction programmes to ensure they gain access to the opportunities available.
Years 1 and 2
These children are taught the key skills set out within the National curriculum, the National Numeracy and Literacy Strategies and the aspects of learning within our scheme of work for personal, Social, Health and Citizenship education.
Teaching styles and content are varied to meet the learning needs of the children. Therefore we try to personalise leaning so that each child is working towards their potential. Some of these skills are taught within a subject lesson e.g. a numeracy or literacy lesson. Other skills are taught through a thematic approach. Recent themes have been: castles, the Great Fire of London, and Narnia. This cross-curricular teaching allows the staff to deliver a more creative curriculum and enables the children to use their thinking skills and make connections in their learning.
ICT at our school is an important resource for the children and staff. Each class has access to our purpose built air-conditioned suite of 15 computers. All classrooms have at least one computer (linked to those in the suite) and all computers can access the Internet (filtered for suitable material by the local authority). In addition, all classrooms have interactive whiteboards which enables teaching and learning to be presented in a very exciting way. The children also have access to other digital resources e.g. cameras, video camcorders. Again, like other aspects of the curriculum children are taught the necessary skills which enable them to practise and consolidate in other areas of the curriculum.
Physical education lessons and playtimes develop both physical competence and self confidence. Children spend formal P.E. lessons learning the skills they will need to participate in a variety of team and individual sports in later years. They have the opportunity to develop skills in gymnastics, dance and games. Physical education provides opportunities for pupils to be creative, competitive and to face up to different challenges as individuals and in groups and teams. It also promotes positive attitudes towards active and healthy lifestyles. Extra curricular activities include short tennis and football.
At breaktimes children are encouraged to be active in the following ways: having access to play equipment, a low level adventure play area, activities marked on the playground and playground games are taught to them.
Children develop and extend their creative and practical skills through making art, craft, design, and music, and by performing in dance and drama. They explore the world around them, their own experiences and the world of imagination as sources of ideas.
On occasions we make use of theatre groups, performers and visiting artists as stimuli for the children's own work. The children perform concerts at Christmas for parents and visitors. In years 1 and 2 children have the opportunity to attend after school art, dance and skipping clubs.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)
As well as developing self-esteem, positive relationships and good behaviour we teach the importance of staying healthy and keeping ourselves and others safe. A weekly circle time is one of the ways children can explore these areas.
We have weekly class councils when each class gets together for about 10 minutes to talk about concerns, problems and ideas about the infant school. It is also a time when the children are reminded about what they should / should not be doing.
Two children are chosen from each class to join the School Council for a year. These children meet with the Headteacher and PSHCE coordinator approximately twice a term to discuss matters that have come up at the class council meetings or to carry out special tasks which will benefit the whole school community.
Special Educational Needs
How are children with special needs supported at school?
In Essex, the majority of children with special educational needs are supported in mainstream schools. This includes children of all abilities from the least able to the most able. The Essex Stages of Assessment, within the context of the 2001 Code of Practice for SEN, provides schools with a framework for the identification, assessment and support of these children. The school has alearning support policy which addresses these issues. The policy is reviewed annually and is available to parents / carers on request, or by download. Local authority and school funding is allocated to provide additional support for those children placed on the SEN Framework. We believe all children should have equal access to the curriculum and to an involvement in all school activities. If parents / carers feel their disabled child is being treated less favourably than the other pupils then they should contact the appropriate Headteacher to discuss this.
Gifted and Talented Children
More able children may require extension and enrichment activities. This is provided either through the differentiation of the curriculum offered to all pupils or by the setting of different tasks. We have a Gifted and Talented Register which highlights children who display particular aptitude to one or more areas of the curriculum. The register ensures staff are aware of certain children’s strengths and is reviewed regularly.
Moving on to Key Stage 2 in the Junior School
The children have a number of opportunities to spend time at the Junior School during the Summer Term before their transfer in September. The children visit their junior teacher and classroom and spend time becoming familiar with the building. The Junior staff also visit the Infant School and talk to the children and their teachers about their infant experiences and achievements.